Are you interested in choosing a toll-free 800 number for you business?

Sooner or later, if you’re a mid- to large-scale corpration, you’re going to confront the issue of choosing a toll-free number. This is a decision you’ll be living with for quite some time, so it’s important you get it right.

With that in mind, here are five tips for choosing an 800 number provided to us by David Ashley, Founder/CEO of, a company that has been providing expertise in this area for more than 18 years.

1. Number Hybrid

This is by far the biggest mistake business owners make.  1-800-493-TINT is nowhere near as valuable as 1-800-TINTING.  People can remember words, not numbers.  A hybrid quickly becomes 1-800-something-something-something TINT to the potential customer.  A hybrid may save you a few dollars, but over time, you’ll throw away thousands on advertising…not even counting the thousands lost from the business opportunities squandered.
BAD: 1-800-493-TINT
2. 800 & 888 vs. 877 & 866
Whenever possible always try to establish yourself with an 800 vanity number.  It is by far what the public is familiar with.  When that is impossible, 888 is the second choice.  Although not as good as 800, still way better then 877 and 866.  Try not to us 877 unless as a last resort as you may lose some of your calls to misdials since the public isn’t yet familiar with 877 being a toll-free prefix.  Never use 866 because you could lose up to 1/3 of your calls.


3. Vanity Name Choice
Select a number that either spells out your industry (800-FLOWERS, 1-800-EYESIGHT, 1-800-INSURANCE) or describes/reinforces the advertising message you are trying to convey (Fabulous Honeymoon vacations- 1-800-FABULOUS).  Avoid spelling out your company unless you are sure everyone knows your company name.  Stewarts Roofing is much better off with 1-800-ROOF CARE then 1-800-STEWART, which could be almost anything.

4. Spelling
The number needs to be easy to spell.  Never use the “Q” or “Z” as they have only recently been added to newer phone keypads.


5. Marketing/Branding
Don’t be selective where you use your vanity number.  Make it the front door to your business for everything you do that the public sees or hears.  Selective use for just radio spots, for instance, will not get you the best results overall.  There is a reason why everything FedEx does places the 1-800-Go FedEx number on it.  Same goes for UPS with 1-800-PICK UPS, they know what value it is to them.

By simply avoiding these five mistakes, you are well on your way to excellent advertising execution.

By David Ashley, Founder/CEO, For the past 18+ years, Tele-Name has been working with businesses in the shared-use of the best tele-name- numbers in the country.